Lord, be not silent unto me, but in Thy mercy speak again.
My thirsty soul awaits Thy word as parched land awaits the rain.
I look to Thee, my Lord and God. I find in Thee my hope and rest;
For Thou has oft’ refreshed my soul in times when I was sore distressed.
These words from a hymn I sang growing up have lodged in my mind this past week. I have felt the need to hear God’s voice again to my heart.
Psalm 28:1 and Psalm 51 (I have linked to the King James translation for the beauty of its poetry) gives us David’s heart in seeking God and hearing His voice. David was a man after God’s own heart because of the attitude he displays in these two Psalms. In the first passage he begs God not to be silent, because David fears where he will find himself without God’s direction. In Psalm 51 we see David’s desperation to restore his relationship with God after he had fallen. David does not beat around the bush. He begs God, in His mercy, to blot out his sins. The plaintive cry of the repentant sinner is seen in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Then he begs God not to cast him out of His presence, and not to take His holy spirit from him. I am not going to expound on something that may contradict the scripture and the dispensation of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, but I want to note that David understood his dependence on God’s presence and the presence of God’s holy spirit. Whether David had the inward prompting of the Holy Spirit as we do now or not, I cannot say; but aren’t we blessed to have it? Do I always feel blessed when I feel the Spirit prompting me? A resounding NO! For which I stand ashamed. God gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, making a home in our hearts, taking over our own sinful spirit and replacing our faulty guidance systems with His perfect will.
David then says in verse 12, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation…” I noted as I read this, that David wasn’t asking for his salvation to be restored. He knew his salvation was secure, but he was asking that the joy of his salvation be restored. What had taken his joy? Sin? No, I don’t believe so. I believe David would have been perfectly happy in his sin, as most of us would be, but for one thing…God had removed His presence from him – verse 11 tells us why he had lost his joy, he felt cast out, removed from God’s presence – and he understood that his sin was the barrier causing the separation. David, then, was begging God to tear down that wall, to cleanse him of the sin that took him out of God’s presence; took him out of earshot.
This Psalm is David’s version in great desperation and complete repentance, of the words of the hymn I opened with: “Lord, be not silent unto me, but in Thy mercy speak again.” God answered that urgent prayer. Of course He did! Luke 11:13 tells us that God will answer our pleas for His presence; for His Holy Spirit! Not to be cliché, but from the bottom of my heart, “Halleluleah!” I have felt the separation sin causes. I have felt the urging of the Spirit within me to reunite with God; to remove the wall of sin (sin from which I was already free) between me and my God, and I have felt my joy restored in reunion with Him. Halleluleah! An absolutely amazing thing, God himself, within our (saved Christians) hearts as the Holy Spirit, prompts us to forsake the swamp of sin in which we find ourselves, and which separates us from His presence, and deafens our ears to His voice. He prompts us from within to return to Him, He tears down the barriers between us, and He gently leads us back into the joy of His presence – completely forgiven and perfectly clean again…cleansed in His blood and by His suffering.
In another of those personally serendipitous moments, words of another hymn from my childhood flooded my mind as I wrote the previous paragraph…”Oh wondrous love, I’ll shout and sing: He died for me, my Lord and King!” This hymn was written to the same tune as the one that has been on my mind the past few days.
Was it for me, for me alone, the Savior left His glorious throne?
The dazzling splendors of the sky, was it for me He came to die?
It was for me, yes all for me. Oh love of God so great so free!
Oh wondrous (wondrous*) love, I’ll shout and sing: He died for me, my Lord and King!”
*the parenthetical “wondrous” is the bass line double-stroke that I hear in my mind (sung by cousins Doug, Russell and myself – or any combination of the three), and must insert whenever I sing this hymn, either silently or aloud.
My mind turned to that chorus as I wrote the last words “cleansed by His blood and His suffering” a few paragraphs back, and had not entered my memory at all during the time the other hymn, sharing the same tune, was running through my mind this past week.
Jeremiah says it is not in man to direct his own steps – Jeremiah 10:23. It is this truth that caused David’s earnestness as he pled for restoration. He knew, as we know, that he/we are unable to navigate this life successfully in our own wisdom. Previously, Jeremiah expresses his own sorrow in verses 19-22. It is after he speaks of his own calamity that he acknowledges that he is unable to direct his own life. Solomon repeats this refrain in Psalm 127:1. Jeremiah, the wandering prophet, and Solomon, the splendidly wealthy king, both reached the same conclusion, expressed in slightly different ways: “A man cannot direct his own steps.” “It is foolish for a man to build a house without God in the work.” Obviously David knew this. David did not want to continue without God directing his steps, building his house.
James 1:5-8 is again appropriate. Wisdom is seeking God’s guidance. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, Psalm 111:10. And David expresses the wisdom of allowing God to lead in the 23rd Psalm. David writes this from his experience as a shepherd. With a shepherd’s heart, he knows that God plans the best for His flock and guards them and protects them with His life.
I just bought several lambs last weekend. Two of them had been bottle fed their whole lives and crave human companionship. Sunday afternoon I went out into the pasture. One of these lambs was laying by herself, under a tree and away from the rest of the flock. She was quiet until she saw me walk by, then she jumped up, bleating, and ran frantically to me, then stayed against my legs as I walked back to the barn. All the time telling me how glad she was to be with me. I believe David understood that lamb in his own heart as he wrote the 23rd, the 28th and the 51st Psalms. It is that heart that God loved in David, and still loves in His children today.
Joshua told the children of Israel, in Joshua 3:5, to set themselves apart, to devote themselves to God today, because tomorrow God would do wonders among them. It seems to follow: Consecration then wonders. If God isn’t performing wonders in my life today, it is likely I didn’t consecrate my life to Him yesterday.
Consecrate (or sanctify KJV) yourselves, for tomorrow God will do wonders among you!